Native Plant & Sustainability Conference 2015


This mid-November, I went to Phipps Conservatory‘s annual Native Plant and Sustainability Conference which brings national experts to Pittsburgh annually for a one-day forum on plants, landscapes and our roles as stewards of the earth. It was most definitely a worthwhile conference, at least three great books worth.

Three of my favorite topics and presenters included…

Ian Caton, the owner and operator of Enchanters Garden, a nursery specializing in native plants of the Appalachian region provided a great presentation on native plants. He provided some great examples of how we can layer plants to not only create fuller effect eliminate need for the use of invasive ground covers such as ivy or the frequently overused mulch.  and how we can fit the into our urban landscapes

Nette Compton, associate director of city park development for the Trust for Public Land in New York provided a great examples of New York’s red-development efforts of public lands. The favorite takeaway was the presentation on sidewalk bioswales of rain-water management.

Last but not least, Pittsburgh Parks and Conservancy gave great overview and update not the Panther Hollow Watershed restoration project. Its fascinating project using green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff.

The Beginning

Having just completed the Penn State Master Gardener Program during the summer of 2015, I wanted to find a plot of land where I could engage in and deep dive into the experimental design of nature in an urban setting.

On the one hand, I wanted expand beyond my current 4’ x 8’ vegetable garden at my home and on the other, I became highly engaged in learning about rain gardens and designing gardens with a focus on native pollinator friendly plants. I wanted to find a lot, an empty canvas so to speak with which I could connect and grow together.

The search for a plot of land begins.